'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.' --Mark 8:34
Not: let him be denied and receive his cross and wander. But: let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow.
We tend to think of our 'crosses' as the difficulties that befall us. But Jesus calls us to actively take up our cross. He's talking about his disciples proactively determining to do something. The point isn't that the Bible is silent about the hardship of which we are simply passive recipients. But that's Job, not Mark 8. Mark 8 calls us to take up the cross. Take it up. Not receive it. Take it up. We're not talking masochism or asceticism here; the end goal is not pain. The end goal is--as the next sentence out of Jesus' lips make clear--saving our life.
Asking the Lord what this means for me in 2010. I invite you to join me.